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UTSA presents Brecht play that parallels Hitler and American crime lords

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Poster for Brecht play

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(May 2, 2012) -- The UTSA Department of English Drama Through Performance Troupe will present the gangster spectacle "The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui" at 7:15 p.m., Thursday, May 3 and Friday, May 4 in the Buena Vista Theater at the UTSA Downtown Campus. The performance is free and open to the public.

Written in 1941 by Bertolt Brecht when he was living in exile in Finland while awaiting a visa to enter the United States, the parable play aims to destroy the dangerous respect commonly felt for great killers.

Directed against Hitler and the powerful "big shots" of the time and transposed into terms of the American gang world, the play attempted to make Hitler's rise intelligible to an American audience by placing it at a time and place that would be familiar to them.

The shatteringly accurate parallel between Hitler and his henchmen and the old crime lords in the United States provides a satirical allegory of the Nazi's rise to power in a depressed Germany. In Chicago, the Cauliflower Trust is in need of help and turns to a racketeer by the name of Arturo Ui to begin a "protection" campaign. The activities include "accidental fires" and a St. Valentine's Day Massacre.

An influential theater practitioner of the 20th century, Brecht was a poet, playwright, director and dramaturg. He is known particularly through his work with the Berliner Ensemble, a post-war theater company operated by Brecht and his wife, longtime collaborator and actress Helene Weigel.

Dramaturgy involves a comprehensive exploration of the context of a play. The dramaturg is the resident expert and consultant on the physical, social, political and economic scenarios of the play, along with the psychology of the characters, themes and technical considerations of a production including writing and design.

The play keeps with Brecht's Epic Style of Theater, using an alternative to the traditional Aristotelian dramatic theory, which allows the audience to observe critically to draw conclusions and participate in an intellectual argument with the play, rather then sitting back and just being entertained. The Aristotelian theory of tragedy dictates that a play have a clear beginning, middle and end (rising action, climax and resolution), a character with a tragic flaw that brings his or her downfall, a maxim that is proved, spectacle and catharsis (or emotional purging).

"Arturo Ui" opens in a prologue with a direct address to the audience, outlining the major characters and explaining the basis of the upcoming plot. The audience is allowed to better focus on the message, rather than the suspense of what may happen next.

The UTSA production is directed by Lynn Oliver, UTSA Department of English faculty member. For more information, contact Bridget Drinka, chair of the UTSA Department of English, at 210-458-5130.

 

 

Events

Tuesday, May 3, 5 p.m.

Henry B. Gonzalez Centennial Tribute

The College of Public Policy and the Office for Community Services present a 100th anniversary salute to the late Congressman Henry B. Gonzalez. A distinguished panel will discuss Gonzalez's historical impact. Free and open to the public.
Aula Canaria Lecture Hall (BV 1.328) , Downtown Campus

Wednesday, May 4, 5 p.m.

School Psychology Symposium and Reception

Student posters will present case studies based on practicum experiences, literature reviews on topics relevant to educational psychology, and other research experiences this year. The event is free and open to the public.
Durango Building (1.124), Downtown Campus

Thursday, May 5, 5 p.m.

String Project Spring Concert

This end-of-semester concert will feature the 3rd through 8th grade students who have participated in the UTSA String Project this year. The event is free and open to the public.
Buena Vista Theater, Downtown Campus

Monday, May 9, 8 a.m.

The Honeynet Project Workshop

This three-day event will focus on the tools, tactics and motives involved in computer and network attacks. Attendees from around the world will take part in world-class hands-on trainings and technical discussions.
H-E-B University Center Ballroom, Main Campus

Thursday, May 12, 4 p.m.

Master of Public Administration Open House

Visit with faculty, alumni and students to discuss the benefits of and requirements for a Master Degree in Public Administration and/or the Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Administration & Leadership
Buena Vista Building (1.338), Downtown Campus

Saturday, May 14, 10 a.m.

UTSA Spring Commencement: Ceremony One

UTSA Spring Commencement ceremony for the College of Architecture, Construction and Planning, the College of Education and Human Development and the College of Sciences.
Alamodome

Saturday, May 14, 4 p.m.

UTSA Spring Commencement: Ceremony Two

UTSA Spring Commencement ceremony for the College of Business, the College of Public Policy and University College.
Alamodome

Sunday, May 15, 2 p.m.

UTSA Spring Commencement: Ceremony Three

UTSA Spring Commencement ceremony for the College of Engineering and the College of Liberal and Fine Arts.
Alamodome

Wednesday, May 18, 3 p.m.

The Great Staff Appreciation Event

The UTSA community is invited to honor the roughly 2,600 UTSA staff members who contribute to the success of the university and its students.
University Center Ballroom, Main Campus

Thursday, May 19, 6 p.m.

Superintendent Certification Program Information Session

Join UTSA faculty and staff, current students, and area central office administrators/program alumni to learn about this exciting accelerated and web-enhanced program leading to Texas Superintendent Certification. The event is free and open to the public.
Buena Vista Building (1.322), Downtown Campus


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